Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Jean-Claude Ellena’s take on citrus results in a brilliant clarity supported by a minimalistic and subtly sensual foundation. When The Different Company Divine Bergamote first debuted in 2003, my expectations were of a straightforward citrus fragrance supported by a cedarwood base—a common pairing in perfumery. However, from the first explosion of silky sweet and astringent bergamot to the base notes of soft delicate musk, the fragrance never developed like I imagined.
Ellena used 70% of natural bergamot in the composition and fused it with ginger, which highlights the spicy and chilly quality of the top notes. Like Frederic Malle Cologne Bigarade, another Ellena creation, Divine Bergamote is ornamented beautifully with both floral and verdant touches, none of which are distinct enough to be readily recognized. Yet, they weave seamlessly through the composition, modifying and softening the astringency of citrus. One moment, I smell a cup of chilled ginger tea; the next, a crushed flower bud. Through this impressionistic mélange, I notice a delicate scent of skin after a day in the sun. There is a mere hint of warmth, yet it is enough to lend a whisper of sensuality to the drydown and a doze of interest to what could have been just a sparkling citrusy fragrance.
Notes: bergamot (70% of natural bergamot), ginger, orange blossom, leaf green, rhubarb (wood), musk.